BELGRADE — With ongoing 2020 Census efforts, Belgrade’s population is expected to hit 10,000.
Under state law, that means the city can no longer be able to continue a contract with Central Valley Fire District for their services.
Now Belgrade voters must decide.
“The question is would you like to annex Belgrade into the Central Valley Fire District,” said Ted Barkley, city manager with the city of Belgrade.
Put simply, a vote 'yes' means the City of Belgrade will continue receiving fire protection and emergency services from the Central Valley Fire District.
A vote 'no' requires Belgrade to make its own separate fire department.
Which comes with a large price tag.
“A no vote would mean that voters then face a tax question later to fund a full-time paid professional fire department that is separate from Central Valley.
According to the City of Belgrade, this would cost the taxpayer around $63 per month on a home with a $200,000 tax value.
“A yes vote is a yes to annex into the fire district, and therefore the cost to the taxpayers to the residents of city of Belgrade would remain comparable to where they're at now,” said fire marshal with the Central Valley Fire District, Bruce Hennequin.
That means this would continue to cost taxpayers around $13.75 a month for a home with a $200,000 tax value. Almost five times less than the alternative option.
“It’s a very fiscal responsibility issue and what’s the best bang for your buck so to say,” said Hennequin.
Ballots are due by March 3rd.
And Belgrade’s City Manager and Central Valley’s fire chief are happy to answer any questions voters have about the ballot.
You can learn more about the ballot issue by visiting this website: http://ci.belgrade.mt.us/pdf/annex/letter.pdf